I am happy to announce that after a one-word revision, Editor Matt Potter has accepted my poem, “Snow Globe,” for a love-themed anthology to be published by Pure Slush. This is the second time I have worked with an Australian editor, and both were exceptionally sensitive and caring about details in the poem. This leads me to conclude that Australians take their poetry seriously, or maybe they just don’t rush through things the way the rest of the world does. Whatever the case, the last word of the poem is probably better for Editor Potter’s suggestions, and I am grateful for them.
This poem was one of three inspired by my unpleasant encounter with a narcissist (in an earlier post I said there were two poems, but that was wrong). One of the more hurtful aspects of relationships with narcissists is future faking, when they give you a glimpse of possible futures with them in order to control you. The pain of discovering you were believing in a manipulative delusion is what this poem is about.
Luckily, I was able to process my belated understanding of the future faking I had experienced in the context of a loving marriage and a reasonably happy family, because I had moved on. But although I feel empowered by this understanding now, I still harbor a horrified fascination with the fair number of seemingly ordinary people I know who are manipulative, entitled, and low on empathy.
I am pleased that Editors Katie Lynn Johnston and Darcy Dillon accepted my poem, “Mercy,” for the October first edition of Mulberry Literary. I wrote the poem, which compares the speaker’s initial limited notion of mercy to the situation of a hermit crab grown too big for its house, in response to a Unitarian Universalist service about mercy. As I recall, we were supposed to do something other than write a poem, but I’ve never been great at following directions, especially if I can get some written work out of going my own way, and Unitarian Universalists never mind mild rule-breaking anyway.
My mother’s death, my constant, stressful hostility toward the quislings in my country, and my experiences with a few other individuals have all recently led me to try to overcome my defensive response to the toxic actions of others. Although I don’t believe it is possible to move on together with people who do not take responsibility for the harm they inflict, I have worked at transforming my partially suppressed rage to understanding, an openness to sympathy, and a greater sense of responsibility for my own toxic behavior.
So that’s what this poem is about. Again, thanks to the Mulberry Literary editors. I’m looking forward to the poem’s appearance and to reading some of the material already up on the site.
Editor David L. O’Nan, over at Fevers of the Mind, recently accepted a poem I wrote about Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” But he did not stop there. When I expressed an interest in being interviewed by him, he immediately sent me questions to respond to, and now my “Quick 9” interview is up at Fevers. Besides sending the questions and posting the interview, Editor O’Nan took the time to find images of the books I mentioned as being influences. It was fun to see the jacket of A Paper Zoo again. Thanks to Editor O’Nan for the opportunity to talk about what made me the writer I am and to plug my books, especially The Jesus Wars.
So if you’d like to know a bit more about my hyper-intellectual TV-less childhood, my love of British wit, and my literary struggle against fascism, head on over.
If not, here’s A Review for you anyway. I’m sorry about the 50-second false start last time. My son left it on his page, and I posted it without realizing it was the wrong one. So here is the actual Lupin review:
David L. O’Nan, at Fevers of the Mind, is putting together “A Sequel Anthology to Avalanches in Poetry Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen,” and he is soliciting submissions for the volume, which will be called Before I Turn Into Gold. I am researching the third part of my everlasting science fiction novel project and trying not to get caught up in producing new things for calls for submissions, but I happened to have an immediate idea for this one.
Although I am not a big Cohen fan,* at the 2017 Women’s March in Washington, D.C., I did have a moving experience listening to Hallelujah. Unable to get to where the famous speakers were because the crowd was jam-packed, our little group sat on a slightly elevated bit of terraced landscaping, eating our snacks on a sheet of plastic and participating in the chants from the sidelines. A group next to us formed a circle and began to sing the song. Even though I had not been particularly moved by Cohen’s passing, I was moved by the damage being done to our democracy, and something about “Hallelujah,” sung sweetly in subdued tones by a circle of women, seemed uplifting and appropriate to the moment.
So when I saw Editor O’Nan’s call, I pulled up the lyrics and composed a series of three-line stanzas about this incident. Every third line rhymes with the last two syllables of “hallelujah,” just as Cohen’s stanza-endings do, and I also used some phrases and vocabulary from the song throughout. I’m happy to report that O’Nan accepted “Hearing ‘Hallelujah’ at the Women’s March, 2017,” and I look forward to reading Before I Turn to Gold.
*I don’t dislike Cohen; I’m just neutral. Maybe I don’t know his work well enough.
I have now written twenty-two poems based on the text from cans. As I said in my last post on this subject, I hope to write twenty-five. Also in my last post, you can read about my perspective on this work, as well as what I think of the two now up at Cacti Fur.
Again, many thanks to Editor Jim Thompson for his ongoing appreciation of my work. I invite you to go over and check out my poems, as well as the many others he has posted, which tend to feature strong narrative voices and a wry disappointment with life.